NASHVILLE, Tenn. Dru Smith made two free throws with 15.2 seconds left, Xavier Pinson made two more with 6.5 seconds remaining and the Missouri Tigers held off Georgia 73-70 Thursday night to advance to the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
Seventh-seeded Missouri (16-8) will play eighth-seeded Arkansas on Friday night.
The Tigers led 62-50 and nearly blew that lead after failing to make a field goal after Jeremiah Tilmon‘s layup with 6:24 remaining. They missed their final six shots but made all nine free throws within the final five minutes.
Pinson scored 17 points, Smith and Kobe Brown had 16 points apiece and Tilmon finished with 10 for Mizzou.
No. 10 seed Georgia (14-12) lost its third straight. The Bulldogs trailed 69-67 with 19.8 seconds remaining when Toumani Camara went to the free throw line for two shots. He lost the first opportunity when Justin Kier mistakenly crossed the 3-point line, a lane violation. Camara then missed his only attempt.
Smith and Pinson then hit their free throws for the final margin.
Sahvir Wheeler led Georgia with 14 points, Camara finished with 13 and K.D. Johnson had 12.
Pinson beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to trim Missouri’s deficit to 33-32 after a first half in which both teams went through scoring droughts longer than five minutes. Georgia led by as much as 33-27 after making six straight shots before Pinson’s shot.
Georgia: The Bulldogs were the only SEC team not to miss a game due to COVID or weather issues. But they cost themselves in this game going 10 of 16 at the free throw line. They had only one more turnover than Mizzou but were outscored 19-9 off those mistakes.
Missouri: The Tigers needed this victory to burnish their seeding resume after being one of only nine teams with seven Quad 1 victories. Now they are a win away from playing in the semifinals of this tournament for the first time, which would be a bigger boost for the NCAA Tournament.